I’ve been speaking with a Wall Street Journal reporter who is working on an upcoming piece, and we could use your help. This is a different reporter than the person who interviewed me earlier about “small business credit card woes,” Jane Kim (but she sits in close proximity to Jane, so “Hi” Jane!).
Here’s a little background information. If you are familiar with this blog, then you already know that I am employed as an entrepreneurship professor at Western Carolina University. I’ve been researching the use of credit cards by small businesses, entrepreneurial bootstrapping (starting a business from scratch with little or no capital), and similar topics in connection with scholarly writing for a number of years. I am not a life-long academic, however (and “bootstrapping” is something I have done myself in the past, in the course of starting my own former businesses).
Remember the C.A.R.D. ACT? You know, the one with loopholes that are “big enough to drive an armored truck through“? The one that the credit card companies spent millions to lobby against (using as one source of funds, taxpayer’s own bailout money)? The one that applies to fixed rate consumer cards, but exempted “business credit cards” and variable rate cards (see the “loopholes” link cited above — credit card companies conveniently used the incredibly long waiting period before the C.A.R.D. Act kicked in to convert accounts to variable rates)?
Who does Congress think it’s fooling? The banking industry “influenced” Congress to write the C.A.R.D. Act in such a way as to create the image of a victory for consumers (thanks to its largess and “concern for the commoners”). Unfortunately, what our representatives really did was to draft and pass legislation with all the room the industry needed to wiggle out of giving consumers (and small businesses) the one thing they really needed: protection from a bunch of abusive bullies who to this day, have not changed their ways. It’s still all about the bonuses!
Now, focusing on the topic of small business and professional credit cards, the aforementioned Wall Street Journal reporter whom I was speaking today (Jessica Silver-Greenberg) asked me to try to help her find some living examples of individuals who have been “switched” (either knowingly or without really being informed as to what the switcheroo was all about) from a consumer card to a business or professional card. She subsequently emailed the following to me:
It was great to speak with you. If you could post the following on your website, that would be fantastic.
So, I am looking for any one who has received a solicitation for a small business or professional card in the past year. I am interested particularly in cardholders who have been approached by credit card companies, either by mail or by phone to switch into a professional/small business card from a personal credit card.
If you could post that on your blog, and tell anyone interested to email me at Jessica.email@example.com that would be wonderful.
Thank you so much.
(Of course I will post it, Jessica — as long as credit card companies play “bait and switch,” I am delighted to do so.) Although Jessica has offered her email address directly, I would be happy to forward anything to her on behalf of ChangeInTerms.com readers (and, I’d actually like to hear from you myself, if you respond to the request; comments are welcome below this post as well).